Wellington Scoop

New Wellington leaders for Fire And Emergency

Press Release – Fire and Emergency NZ
Fire and Emergency New Zealand has today reached a significant milestone as New Zealand’s first unified firefighting organisation. Today marks the stand-up of 17 new Districts, replacing an historic split where there were 24 urban areas and 18 rural fire districts.

Chief Executive Rhys Jones says Fire and Emergency New Zealand was established in 2017 and bringing together over 40 rural and urban fire services and 14,000 people has been a huge job.

“But getting all the different firefighting set ups working together as one national organisation has been necessary,” Rhys Jones says. “Our structural changes are about building a unified national emergency management organisation to meet the changing risks communities face across both the built and natural environments,” he says.

Under the new structure, all brigades and stations will sit together under their respective newly appointed District managers.

National Commander Kerry Gregory says Fire and Emergency’s work goes a lot further than putting out fires and the new teams will reflect its wider remit.

“For years now, the proportion of fire callouts has been reducing compared to other incidents – and this will continue to be the case. A changing climate means we’ll need to respond to more frequent and severe natural disasters in the future. We are also attending more road accidents, medical callouts and incidents involving hazardous materials. Our new structure enables us to continue to respond to those emergencies and work with communities to keep them safe.

“Reducing the risk of fire is the single most effective thing we can do in seeking to protect New Zealand’s people, property and environment. Our new structure enables us to put an increased focus on risk reduction and supporting communities to be resilient and able to recover more quickly from the impact of emergencies.”

Kerry Gregory says this is an important and exciting time for Fire and Emergency and its people. “I am confident our District managers have the skills needed to successfully deliver our goals and they have my full support. I am looking forward to working alongside them in their new roles.”

Te Ūpoko (Wellington, Manawatu/Whanganui, Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay) Region Manager, Bruce Tubbs

Across Te Ūpoko I’m fortunate to work alongside a number of fantastic leaders, and it is an honour to see many of them will be staying in our Regional leadership team. David Utumapu, Ken Cooper and Nigel Dravitzki have played key roles for Te Ūpoko rohe over the last four years with Nick Pyatt re-joining the Region leadership team. Nick has had several important roles in the organisation particularly last year during the COVID-19 response, and I know he will do a fantastic job for the people of the Wellington District.

Ken Cooper, Hawke’s Bay

Originally from Scotland, Ken Cooper spent six years as a firefighter there before emigrating to New Zealand and joining the New Zealand Fire Service in 2000. Ken has spent the majority of his time in leadership roles in Hawke’s Bay, most recently as the Area manager. He has also had roles as a subject matter expert within emergency management and leads our Central Urban Search and Rescue team. In his role as District manager, Ken wants to create an environment that enables Fire and Emergency personnel to reach their potential as well as explore innovative ways with our partners to make things safe for the Hawke’s Bay community.

Nigel Dravitzki, Manawatu-Whanganui

Manawatu-Whanganui District Manager Nigel Dravitzki has a diverse background, having been a part of firefighting organisations for more than three decades, including leadership roles in both private and public sector organisations. He will be looking to build and develop a unified team across the Manawatu-Whanganui District. Nigel wants his team to reflect Fire and Emergency’s goals and meets the emergency needs and expectations of Manawatu-Whanganui.

Nick Pyatt, Wellington

Wellington raised and currently living in the Wairarapa, Nick Pyatt has a strong understanding of his District. Starting as a firefighter 23 years ago, Nick has had several roles across the organisation, most recently as assistant area manager in the Wairarapa. Since Fire and Emergency was established in 2017, he has also been involved in rural fire management as the principal rural fire offficer for the Wairarapa. As District manager, Nick wants to be at the forefront of empowering his people around the District to support and serve their communities.

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